Android One Arriving In US: Can Google Breathe New Life Into Android Brand?
Tech Times reported on Jan. 18 that Google plans to release Android One smartphones in the United States (U.S.) before mid-2017 and that it will be offered in the $200 - $300 price range.
Google is partnering with a phone manufacturer for the device's hardware-much like how Nexus was produced-and, while nothing has been confirmed yet, rumors are floating that LG may be a part of the project.
It's not hard to imagine how many phone manufacturers are interested in the project since Google promises major financial support for the promotion of the device as long as the manufacturer abides by the company's conditions for the low-cost smartphone.
Android One is not exactly new since it has been offered in emerging markets since 2014 but with the planned release in the U.S., Google may just be aiming to dominate the mobile phone market since the Google Pixel is reportedly doing really well against Apple and Samsung phones.
[iOS vs Android] vs Android One
iOS and Android devices have a fairly healthy competition but Android One's release could trigger an additional competition between Android devices. This is because, unlike other Android phones out in the market that rely on carriers to roll out software and security updates, the planned Android One device has guaranteed timely updates for two years.
The move is actually a good one considering Google has always been looking for ways to improve user experience with its products. Users of Android devices offered by carriers usually have to wait for months before they can receive updates so Android One's promise of timely updates would cut the waiting time and assure users that their devices are up-to-date.
One expert believes that releasing the Android One in the U.S. is a logical step for Google to raise the standards for Android devices.
"What [Google] can do, however, is continue to expand and amplify the options for consumers to get on board with its own vision for how Android should work," JR Raphael of Computer World writes.
Low-cost devices and the current market trend
Despite the promise for more updated software, the future of Android One remains uncertain because of the current market trend.
That is, since carriers offer more expensive high-end devices in very tempting and affordable monthly installment plans, consumers usually take the bait and purchase using credit.
"While there certainly exists a market for good, unlocked phones in the United States, that market has showed very little momentum [...] carriers are getting even more aggressive making high-end phones affordable," David Ruddock of Android Police observes.
Ruddock proves a good point. After all, if a consumer can pay for high-end $750 device in monthly installments similar to a $300 mid-range mobile phone, a consumer is more likely to choose the former, regardless of the length of time they have to pay.
The answer will come in mid-2017
We can speculate all we want whether the promised Android One device will tip the scales in the iOS vs Android war and earn more love from consumers but, until it is released, it is hard to say if it can make any difference.